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of the white house is kristen welker. kristen, let's listen to what the president said about and up or down vote or what he expects from the senate. >> i had a good and constructive discussion here with the leadership about this tax hike on the middle-class. i am optimistic that we can reach an agreement that will be passed in both houses. if an agreement is not reached in time between senator reid and senator mcconnell, then i will urge senator reid to bring to the floor and up or down vote for the floor, and i believe a p proposal could pass both houses with majorities as long as the leaders allow it to actually come to a vote. if members of the house or the senate want to vote no, they can. but we should let everybody vote. >> kristen, this up or down vote seems to be be the big news of the day, and isn't this what the white house wanted all along? >> well, it is. it is prp's way of saying, look, vote on his basic proposal, the proposal that will extend the middle-class tax cuts for those making $250,000 or more and extend unemployment benefits and spending cuts and basic plan that the p
cuts to families making $250,000 per year. joining me now from the white house is nbc's kristen welker. kristen, let's take a look at what the president said about what he expects from the senate. >> i just had a good discussion from house leadership about how to prevent this on the middle class. i believe we can reach an agreement. if an agreement isn't reached in time between senator reid and sno senator mccollum, i will reach to him. i believe such a proposal could pass both houses with bipartisan majorities as long as the leaders allow it to actually come to a vote. if members of the house or the senate want to vote no, they can. but we should let everybody vote. >> kristen, this up or down vote seems to be the big news of the day. isn't this what the white house wanted all along? >> well, it is and it's president obama's way of saying, look, vote on his basic proposal, the proposal that would extend middle-class tax cut, deal with spending cuts. it's a basic plan that the president is calling for. something similar has already passed so the white house feels confident that what th
and that is a very emotional president obama at the white house. kristen welker is live with the latest from washington. kristen, it is an interesting and powerful moment in the presidency to realize it is not just a governmental office, but to be president is to be us, the emblematic person, and to react almost like the adult in the family, the grown-up. >> absolutely. absolutely. and president obama today admitting that he was responding to this tragedy not only as the president, but also as a father who has two daughters, and that is how he watched these horrific events unfold. we certainly saw that raw emotion come out when he addr s addressed the nation a little bit earlier on today. the other thing that stood out about his comments, chris, he talked about the need for meaningful action saying that it is necessary regardless of the politics. he didn't go into any details today, but i expect in the coming days and weeks that we will learn more about what he specifically meant by meaningful action, but i can tell you that the last time he really talked about gun control and this issue we
in just a moment. first we go to nbc's kristen welker at the white house on a where the talks stand. >> reporter: good evening. sources close to the talks say there is more pessimism tonight with democrats and republicans still unable to reach a compromise, particularly over the issue of taxes. but senate negotiators aren't giving up. they're still hopeful for a breakthrough before that all important tuesday deadline. with time running out, key staffers huddled behind closed doors against the backdrop of a snowy capitol trying to hammer out a last-minute deal. in his weekly address, president obama pushed lawmakers to act. >> we cannot let washington politics get in the way of america's progress. >> reporter: mr. obama met with top party leaders friday, calling on them to either reach a compromise or allow a vote on his plan that would among other things raise taxes on those making more than $250,000. >> i believe such a proposal could pass both houses with bipartisan majorities as long as these leaders allow it to come to a vote. >> reporter: missouri senator roy blount delivered t
a whole heck of a lot of noise. let's get straight to washington. nbc's kristen welker at the white house and luke russert is tracking developments at capitol hill and nbc news senior political editor mark murray is here to break it down for us from the washington bureau. we will start with kristen. last we heard, kristen welker, the president came out to report that he is modestly optimistic. has the rhetoric changed at all today? >> reporter: it has changed a little bit. the president is still modestly optimistic, but i just spoke with a democratic source who tells me at this hour a deal is looking doubtful. of course, we want to underscore the fact that these negotiations are very fluid so that characterization could change at any moment, but it seems as though the discussions going on behind the scenes right now have yet to bear fruit and right now we do have the focus on the senate. majority leader reid and mitch mcconnell trying to hammer out a deal that would, to some extent extend the bush-era tax cuts for those making $250,000 although we might see that number go up to 400,000, 5
? with us is cello o'donnell and kristen welker. >> we are sort of at a pause point. if you are looking at the tone of these leaders what is i think optimistic is they have both acknowledged that the other side is acting in good faith. nobody has huffed and stormed away. there are signs that they still want to work together. at the same time they are calling for reinforcements. leader mcconnell says he has placed a call to the vice president asking him to get involved in this in part because joe biden was in the senate for so long and has been able to help bring the two sides together in previous cases where they were down to the wire. we know that call has gone out. harry reid says he has reached out to the president on the phone a couple of times. republicans say there is no single issue that should break this. there is something that democrats are talking about. what we have learned is in an offer presented by republicans last night at 7:00 included within that was a request to make a change to how future increases to the payments of social security would change. not taking any money
'donnell on capitol hill, nbc's kristen welker at the white house, and jonathan capehart, washington post editorial writer and my colleague and an msnbc contributor. okay, kelly. the action is on the hill where it's been for the last few days. let's start with you. this is a fast-moving story. give us the latest perimeters of what appears -- i emphasize appears to be the start of a deal. >> well, it has been coming closer together, so we are told. the question is what will the president be saying, and senior advisors here as well as senators i've spoken to say they do not expect that he is making any nounment of a deal, so we'll wait for the white house to determine that for sure. what we've been hearing is that they have moved off the issue of taxes and have been more focused on the nature of spending cuts. with republicans and democrats in two different places. democrats would like to delay the automatic spending cuts that would kick in at midnight for two years. republicans would like to delay them only for three months, and then get some additional deaf set reduction with those cuts would kick
's find out where negotiations stand. nbc's kristen welker is traveling with the president in honolulu. hello, kristen. >> reporter: lester, good evening. president obama played a round of golf this afternoon but white house officials say this is also a working vacation for him and for his staffers. that is little comfort for the millions of americans wondering what the uncertainty in washington means for them. president obama arriving in hawaii after leaving a washington in disarray. while the president put politics aside for his weekly address -- >> michelle and i want to wish you a merry christmas and a happy holidays. >> reporter: -- on friday the focus was on the fiscal cliff. mr. obama conceded a large deal may now be impossible but urged congress to at least prevent taxes from going up on middle class americans while extending unemployment insurance and laying the groundwork for deficit reduction. >> i expect democrats and republicans to get back to washington and have it pass both chambers. and i will immediately sign that legislation into law. >> reporter: house speaker john b
on this interview with david gregory on "meet the press." nbc's kristen welker has more on that angle from the white house. good evening. >> reporter: kate you good evening. the president has repeatedly blamed republicans for the fiscal cliff stalemate and now, he is doubling down on that criticism. on "meet the press," president obama continued his public campaign to pressure congress. >> if congress doesn't act, then everybody's taxes go up. and for the average family that could mean a loss of $2,000 in income and the whole economy could slow down at a time went economy's actually starting to pick up. >> reporter: he, again, called on lawmakers to strike a deal or hold a vote on his plan, which would raise tax rates on wealthy americans, a major sticking point for republicans. >> the way they're behaving is that their only priority is making sure that tax breaks for the wealthiest americans are protected. that seems to be their only overriding, unifying theme. >> reporter: after the interview, republican leaders accused the president of assigning blame instead of leading. >> when they say leadersh
saying that today's really a day to focus on the victims in connecticut and not policy. >> kristen welker, thank you again. we can expect to hear from president obama some point this afternoon. we are looking, this is a live look at newtown, connecticut. sandy hook, elementary. we are told that the scene is secure. that the gunman, the man who's thought to be responsible for the death of 18 children and at least 8 adults, the gunman dead inside that school. we are starting to hear stories from inside the school and starting to hear from a number of parents, even some students who were inside when all of this went down. here's reaction now from the brother of one of those students. take a listen. >> with me right now is bargeem baru. you were there. talk about what you saw. >> well, i mean, the first thing i saw was three injured children. all three of them female and one of them had -- was very bloody. had a very bloody face and two others carried out by a state trooper. they were not moving and they looked -- i thought it was my sister at first so there's not a lot of security and got ne
for that update. president obama will speak today at 3:15. nbc's kristen welker is at the white house. what are you hearing? >> reporter: well, krystal, president obama was alerted about this tragedy at 10:30 this morning by the national security adviser john brennan. he is receiving updates throughout the morning and afternoon. white house press secretary jay carney holding a daily briefing today and talking about how tragic the events are and asked the initial response was. carney held off saying that it's too soon and the president waiting for details and made the point that president obama is watching these events unfold today as a father as much as he is wachi inwatching as a presid. the president reached out to fbi director mueller as well as the governor of connecticut malloy. now, president obama is very reminisce ept of the aurora, colorado, shooting and president obama spoke to the nation. he was middle in the campaign at that point. he suspended the events. spoke to the nation about how tragic it was, extended condolences to the people of colorado. i'm sure we'll hear similar com
weiner and psychologist jeff gardere. nbc white house correspondent kristen welker, u.s. congresswoman carolyn mccarthy who entered politics after her husband was killed in a shooting on a suburban commuter train. larry johnson the president of the national association of school safety and law enforcement officials. and jamd baldwin, baltimore county police chief. first we go for an immediate update to my msnbc colleague michelle franzen. michelle, thank you for staying with us tonight. >> reporter: well, hi, chris. we're here in the newtown area of connecticut just nearby a couple of miles from sandy hook elementary where the tragic shooting took place earlier today. at this hour hundreds of residents are gathering at a nearby catholic church for a vigil, holding a prayer for those who o'have lost their lives today, those youngest lives, anywhere between kindar garten and fourth grade where those students were shot today. they're holding a prayer vigil and trying to comfort the families that were told lost their loved ones in this town. it's a small new england town in this area. a ve
kristen welker. mike, let's get started with you. what's happening right now in the senate. i understand there's an update on the chained cpi. >> reporter: they say the darkest hour right before the dawn, melissa. everybody ought to hope that's true, at least if you don't want to see your taxes go up on midnight on monday and tuesday night because everything seems to be at a standstill right now. let's review the bidding. here it is from a republican source here on the republican side of capitol hill. all day yesterday they were trading proposals back and forth. by his count two democratic offers came back to republicans and four came back from republicans to democrats. the last one being at 7:00 last night, and, boom, after that, things pretty much came to a standsti standstill. no offers. republicans say they have not heard from democrats since then. mitch mcconnell, of course, the republican leader here in the senate, has said he has reached out to joe biden, the vice president, and not incidentally the president of the senate in that capacity. he has had a couple of conversations wit
of honor for his braver. kristen welker joins me now from honolulu. a warm christmas, i see. >> reporter: yes indeed. it is lovely here. >> the president is on christmas vacation and so is congress. that doesn't mean they don't have work to do as the fiscal cliff looms. i take it this is a working vacation. >> reporter: white house officials have described this as a working vacation and talks are going on behind the scenes between white house staffers and hill staffers. the reality is the bulk of this probably won't get done until after christmas when lawmakers are expected to resume negotiations. there is a lot of frustration especially among senior members in both parties in part because president obama, house speaker john boehner seem so close to getting a deal done. they were really close on taxes and entitlement reform. we saw that last week house speaker john boehner couldn't get his plan b through the house. aides tell me right now president obama does not feel as though he has to compromise much more. he believes he has the leverage because he won reelection. >> on taxes i know i
or break point, it is where we begin tonight with our white house correspondent kristen welker, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, president obama tried to sell his plan in the suburbs of philadelphia today. it is a tactic he thinks has worked in the past, but it did very little to sway the congressional republicans. president obama turning up the heat on republicans. >> hello, hatfield. >> reporter: taking his case for higher taxes on the wealthy to pennsylvania today. >> i don't think it is acceptable to you for just a handful of republicans in congress to hold middle class tax cuts hostage simply because they don't want tax rates on upper income folks to go up. >> reporter: speaking at a factory, mr. obama argued that if congress can't get a deal, taxes will rise about $2,000 average for a family. of coal you get for christmas, that is a scrooje christmas. >> let's not kid ourselves. >> reporter: house speaker john boehner balked. >> increasing tax rates draws money away from the economy that needs to be invested in the economy to put people back to work. it is the wrong app
is kristen welker from the white house. gun control was never on the forefront of the president's agenda during his first term. he was called to account for that today. let's take a listen. >> this is not the first issue, the first incident of horrific gun violence of your four years. where have you been? >> well, here's where i've been. i've been president of the united states dealing with the worst economic crisis since the depression, an auto industry on the verge of collapse, two wars. i don't think i've been on vacation. >> that seemed to be a fairly personal moment for the president. is the white house, though, sensitive about its record on guns? especially to criticism from their own progressive supporters? >> well, they certainly have gotten a lot of criticism. i think there is some sensitivity there. remember, this is the fourth time that we will have seen a mass shooting under president obama's leadership. each one very difficult, obviously, for the nation and for him. president obama has talked about the need to enact different gun laws in the past, to reinstall the ban on ass
tragedies like this. nbc's white house correspondent kristen welker there at 1600 pennsylvania avenue. and, kristin, the phrase there, meaningful action. lots of folks today wondering what the president means by those words. any indication at this point? >> reporter: of course we will have to wait for the coming days and weeks to learn what he specifically meant but it does natural we might see some renewed push important stiffer gun control laws. if you look back at this president's past record, his -- policy on this issue, he has said that he supports reinstating the ban on assault weapons. in the days after the shooting in aurora, colorado, he talked about this issue and he said that we need to have stiffer background checks to make sure that these weapons stay out of the hands of people who are mentally unstable and also talked about the need for preventative measures to make sure folks who are suffering from mental disabilities are getting the type of help and support that they need. but mostly to make sure that these weapons stay out of their hands. so those are some of the types of
nobody wants to see. kristen welker in hawaii. the president is coming back, but they haven't gotten the 48 hour notice. they are very much out there in play. thank you very much for joining us. appreciate it. when the senate returns tomorrow morning, there will be a new emphasis on members taking a larger role in the fiscal cliff negotiations that based off the current offer may only have a smaller deal. a member of the budget committee and outspoken voice on the left side of the aisle. thanks for joining me. good morning. >> mire pleasure. >> we were saying a lack of urgency in washington to deal with the fiscal cliff and being a member of congress especially a respected member of the senate and what do you think is possible at this point on any type of a large scale deal. what do you see as the most likely scenario moving forward. >> i don't think it's a lack of urgency, but a great deal of concern that republican party failed to do anything. it seems that in the house, boehner has no control over his extreme right wing faction. i think the american people are very clear about wha
see president obama making his way to air force one. kristen well welker who's standing by to travel with the president. what can we expect to hear from president obama tonight? >> reporter: as you mentioned, president obama is going to start off by meeting with the folks who were most affected by this tragedy as he arrives in newtown, connecticut. he'll be speaking with family members and first responders here at newtown high school. he said his comment also focus on the victims, on the lives lost. this is becoming an all too familiar path for this president. this will be the fourth time he will have spoken to a community that is reeling in the wake of a gun massacre. just this summer, he went to a aurora, colorado in the wake of the shooting there. last year, it was tucson, arizona, in 2009, it was ft. hood, texas. too many lives lost in all of these incidents, of course what makes this unique is so many young children were lost. so president obama will be comforting this community as commander in chief and also as a father. before he left he attended sasha's dance recital, so spen
coming around 6:30 p.m. let's head on over to the white house. kristen welker standing by. a lot happening in washington, d.c. a lot happening i would assume at the white house. but how engaged is the presidented to in moving this thing forward? >> reporter: good afternoon, t.j. i am told there are conversations going on at the staff level. as you know, he met with congressional leaders here at the white house for about an hour on friday. now sources who are familiar with that conversation tell me that the president essentially said to lawmakers, you have two options. one, come up with a plan that can make its way through both chambers, or allow his proposal to go through a vote in both chambers. and that's what you heard the president referencing in that sound bite that you just aired, t.j. in the president's proposal it calls for extending the bush era tax cuts for those making $250,000 or less as well as extending unemployment insurance benefits. many republicans have an issue with that tax extension for the $250,000 mark because it allows rates to raise on those making more t
welker is nbc's white house correspondent, also traveling with the president in honolulu. kristen, explain to all of us because it appears the lights are out in washington d.c. the president is in hawaii. everyone is home. with all the sides saying that they expect to go over the cliff, it looks pretty likely that that might just happen. >> well, i certainly think that concern is growing. that that's a real possibility at this point. at the same time, thomas, i think there's still so much pressure on all sides so get something done because as he heard joe lieberman said, the consequences would be huge. the economy could potentially slip back into recession. the white house has described this as a working vacation for president obama, but the reality is that negotiations are largely deadlocked on all sides. there have been a few talks going on at the staff level, but the real bulk of this work is going to get done when lawmakers return to washington later this week after the christmas holiday and resume manageses. that's when we're going to see the focus really shift away from the
and bring in nbc news white house correspondent, kristen welker, who's standing by at pennsylvania avenue. kristen, at this point, any indication of whether the president might be heading at some point to connecticut? >> well, craig, i think it's likely, whenever there is a national tragedy like the one that we have just seen in connecticut, he does go to the scene, meets with victims, meets with their families. you'll remember, after the shooting in tucson, arizona, he went, he spoke to the community there. after the shooting in aurora, colorado, he went and met with the folks who were suffering there. so i think it is likely we will see that. we're still waiting for guidance from the white house about a potential visit. but president obama has been getting updates on the situation. he was informed yesterday about an hour after the shooting happened, and was receiving regular updates throughout the day. of course, when he did address the nation, he was incredibly emotional and talked about the fact that he really has been watching these developments, not just as the president, but as a f
vacation. kristen welker in hawaii and with a good morning to you. kristen, i know are you in hawaii, but it's not vacation. the question i think air force one landed a couple of hours ago? >> yep, about two hours ago, alex certainly not a vacation for me. >> 2:30 in the morning there, right? >> quite early here. and president obama beginning his vacation against the back drop you just described. washington still in disarray. seemed earlier this week, the president obama, house speaker john boehner, would get a deal that would include deficit reduction and tax reform. that has fallen apart. so there is a big question mark about what happens now. how they move forward. president obama boarded air force one friday evening with his family. as they left for hawaii. but a little earlier in the day, he met with senate majority leader harry reid and spoke with house speaker john bainer and addressed the nation on the topic of avoiding the fiscal cliff. called on lawmakers to compromi compromise, to get a deal done. he acknowledged time has run out for getting a larger package. what they nee
any of the discussions that may or may not have happened behind the scenes here. >> kristen welker, appreciate that. >>> the senate reconvenes and we do know talks in the works on the hill and nbc's luke russert filling us in now on what you know to be happening at this hour. what say you, good sir? >> hey, how are you doing, craig? talks are under way on capitol hill. we know mitch mcconnell is here. we assume harry reid is here and their staffs are going back and forth. i spoke to one aide who said don't expect for any details to leak tonight. they'll be closed-lipped about this because the idea if anything does leak out it gives more of an opportunity for folks on either party to kill a deal if they don't like what they hear. some sort of a agreement will be announced tomorrow when the house is back in session and the senate is back in session and they can go back to say hey, this is the best opportunity. as far as the likelihood of this kraig, things have not been going well and there's optimism here and there and things are fluid like kristen says and it will be the final deal
the white house nbc news correspondent kristen welker. what's the back story on this it twitter q and a for the president, which should start any minute now? >> reporter: that's right. this is part of president obama's full court press to get the public on board to pressure republicans to sign on to his plan to increase taxes for those making $250,000 or more. he had his first twitter town hall in 2011 when he answered questions about jobs and the economy. this is similar, except it will focus on the fiscal cliff. $2,000 is the amount the average american will see taxes increase by if they can't get a deal done. i've been looking at the entries to this hash tag, it's mixed so president obama can expect tough x questions. one person writes in, why don't republicans in congress realize that when we voted for you we voted for your tax plan. that's one person. another writes in, what are you willing to compromise with the gop to get this fiscal cliff stuff done? i think president obama preparing to answer some tough questions from voters. over the weekend house speaker john boehner sa
in these already very difficult negotiations. natalie? >> kristen welker in honolulu, thank you. >>> we have an update on the health of president george h.w. bush in the hospital in houston. tonight nbc news has learned that his stubborn fever has gotten worse. he's in the intensive care unit, and doctors have him on a liquid-only diet. the former president, who is 88 years old has been hospitalized with bronchitis since just after thanksgiving. >>> when "nightly news" continues on this wednesday evening, two firefighters who survived after being lured into a deadly trap speak out for the first time. >>> and later, a fashion trend you may have missed. why you might want to look into the eyes of those mannequins. [ male announcer ] alka-seltzer plus presents the cold truth. i have a cold, and i took nyquil, but i'm still "stubbed" up. [ male announcer ] truth is, nyquil doesn't unstuff your nose. what? [ male announcer ] it doesn't have a decongestant. no way. [ male announcer ] sorry. alka-seltzer plus fights your worst cold symptoms plus has a fast acting decongestant to relieve your stuffy
one in nine days. joining me in kristen welker, nbc news correspondent. chr kristen, what do you make in light of the boehner plan put on the table? the president unupped them here. >> you look at the polls, they show if we do in fact go over the fiscal cliff, the majority of americans would place the blame on republicans. so house speaker john boehner putting forward the proposal that would increase taxes on those making $1 million or more. harry reid already responding. he said speaker boehner's plan "b" is the farthest thing from a balanced approach. it will not protect middle class families because it cannot pass both houses of congress. it would be a shame if republicans abandoned productive negotiations due to pressure from the tea party as they have time and time again." there you have democrats taking issue with this idea of raising taxes on those making $1 million or more. thomas, this plan "b" does not mean that negotiations are not going forward. they still are, two competing plans on the table. let's look at president obama's latest offer. this is something that the white
along with a lot of members of congress. richard? >> nbc's kristen welker in hawaii with the president. thank you, kristen. >>> speaker boehner has his work cut out for him now, not only does he have to cut a deal with the democrats, but he has a plan b fiscal cliff proposal and let's bring in jonathan allen and third way resident fellow bill schneider. i want to start with you. you wrote an article titled revenge of the purged, and you basically were saying in your article, jonathan, that the three amigos that spooker boehner stripped out of their positions and we see them on the screen, what beef did they have? was it simply because they were stripped of their titles? >> look, i think there's a fundamental divide between them and not only speaker boehner with a lot of the republican conference. these guys lost their assignments voting against republicans a lot, but also members of the republican steering committee that led the committee led by speaker boehner have basically said that these guys have gone to another level of trying to hurt the team over the last couple of years and th
in time. nbc's white house correspondent kristen welker is in hawaii where the first family is spending the holidays. kristen, good morning. >> reporter: natalie, good morning to you. president obama begins day three of his hawaiian holiday. white house officials say this is a working vacation, but talks on the fiscal cliff remain largely deadlocked. meanwhile, members of congress came to honolulu on sunday to along with the president say good-bye to one of their own. with the fiscal cliff deadline looming, lawmakers and president obama attended a memorial service in honolulu on sunday for the late senator daniel inoyue. >> he was really a legislative hero who would never hesitated to collaborate with a republican colleague for the good of the country. >> reporter: there was little sign of collaboration on the morning talk shows. >> my one bit of advice to speaker boehner is this. you cannot pass a bill with just republicans. >> the president has been a pathetic fiscal leader. >> both sides blaming each other for the impact. >> i think the president is eager to go over the cliff for pol
and philadelphia. >> nbc's kristen welker is at the white house now. kristen with a hello to you. the president included that statement in his weekly address about the shootings today. but yesterday he offered quite an emotional reaction. >> reporter: it really was, alex. it was one of the most emotional moments that we have ever seen from this president. he said that he was watching these horrific events unfold, not just as commander in chief but also as a father. so he said that he was mourning right along with the families in connecticut. the purpose of his message really to make the point that connecticut's tragedy is the nation's tragedy. here's a little bit more of what president obama had to say. and this is from yesterday. take a listen. >> i know there's not a parent in america who doesn't feel the same overwhelming grief that i do. the majority of those who died today were children. beautiful little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old. they had their entire lives ahead of them, birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own. >> reporter: so the president pausing repeatedl
's kristen welker is in connecticut for us. what can you tell us about the president's visit later today? >> reporter: alex, i can tell that you when he arrives here a little bit later on this afternoon, he will meet with victims, family members as well as first responders. he will be offering his support and condolences, not only as the president but also as a father, as a husband. later on this evening, he will speak here at the newtown high school at an interfaith prayer vigil. white house officials tell me that his speech will be focused on the families, on this community. do not expect to hear any policy in that speech, alex. this is becoming an all too familiar trip that president obama is making. this will be the fourth time that he will have visited a community that has been ravaged and torn apart by gun violence this past summer, he visit aurora, colorado, in the wake of that massacre. last year, it was tucson, arizona, after a gunman killed six people and critically wounded arizona congressman gabrielle giffords. of course, show on the road to recovery and 2009, fort hood, texa
to return to washington tonight after spending the holiday in hawaii. kristen welker is traveling with the president. good morning to you. >> reporter: savannah, good morning to you. the first lady and first daughters will remain here and continue their hawaiian holiday. the president and first lady spent part of their christmas visiting with troops stationed here in hawaii, thanking them for their service before they sat down and enjoyed a tradit n traditional christmas dinner. the night before president obama called service members stationed overse overseas. when president obama returns to d.c., he and lawmakers will have just days to avert the so-called fiscal cliff. here is where everything stands. last week house speaker john boehner failed to get his own bill through the house. so now things are in the s senate's court. leaders there will have to come up with a compromise to avert the tax hikes and spending cuts set to go into effect during the first of the year. president obama had been working with house speaker john boehner, trying to get a big deal, but talks fell apart
kristen welker. we found out the editor of "the new yorker" said hillary clinton would run in 2016 and dustin hoffman would support her if she ran but what chatter are you hearing around the white house about that? >> reporter: democratic sources tell me the secretary of state just hasn't decided yet. she's still in the process of mulling over this decision. having said that, they also tell me that the political operation is doing what they need to do to preserve the right to run if that's what she decides to do in 2016. that's playing out behind the scenes. publicly we've seen this unfold for quite some time. her president, former president bill clinton, was president obama's key surrogate during this election cycle, setting the stage for president obama to return the favor in 2016. if she so decides to run. remember earlier this week, she was at the save and center for middle east policy and they ran that glossy video that felt like a campaign video in which she was praised by a number of officials, including president benjamin netanyahu. the stage sbing set f that's what she dec
accountable. that is adding to president obama's steam here. he believes he has it. >> kristen welker at the white house and mike. we're waiting for john boehner there live. >>> in political wire, a new strategy memo saying the gop has, quote, run out of persuadable white voters. for the fifth time in the past six presidential elections, republicans have lost the political vote. politico has a perspective saying i think we did a great job. unfortunately, i think the other side did a great job for four years. >>> and huffington post, is going to arrest lady gaga. why? for promoting lggt rights. weekly briefing. >> the president has not make a deal that meets those two standards but republicans have. his proposals have been anything but. he wants far more in tax hikes than spending cuts. and instead of trying to solve our debt problem, he wants new stimulus spending and the ability to raise the debt limit whenever he wants without tax cuts or reforms. it's clear the president is just not serious about cutting spending. but spending is the problem. how big a problem? well, look at this c
with news today that speaker boehner's house will not be back to work on thursday. we've got kristen welker joining us from beautiful honolulu. that's a lovely spot there. >> it is. hey, karen. >> hey. wel get to the fiscal cliff in just a moment. we understand that you've just gotten word that the president is actually getting updates on the condition of former president rw bush. what can you tell us about that sfl. >> that's right. according to a senior official, president obama has been kept up to date on the condition of former president bush. he is recovering. he spent christmas in the hospital. doctors kept him there after concern that his fever was increasing. now, the senior administration officials won't confirm who's updating president obama. karen, it's not unusual for a sitting president to be kept in the loop when this type of situation arouss. when a former president is ill. so we are being told he has been kept in the loop. and of course the entire white house watching quite closely and everyone hoping he makes a full recovery soon. doctors have said they are cautiously optim
. a triple threat, luke russert and mike viqueira on the capitol hill and kristen welker from the white house. are you happy to be working on the holiday? >> it's fantastic. >> absolutely. >> sounded believable. viq, let's start with you. we have news trickling out today. working, trying to make a deal. what's going on? >> it's washington, d.c. nothing is as it appears. we6 classic kabuki theater going on here, toree. the president, jovial, said they were close to a deal. that joe biden, the negotiations with mitch mcconnell essentially borne fruit. republicans annoyed with that. the tax threshold, that's agreed upon. republicans agree, too. what about this sequester? supposed to be the trigger, supposed to be the apocalyptic scenario that made cuts in spending necessary. otherwise we go over the cliff and there are cuts to defense and domestic programs. the president wants to delay them two months, three yearmonta year. many republicans say, absolutely not. many were angry he chose to have a campaign-style event in the white house complex. mitch mcconnell took the floor of the senate and pre
. >> only if. kristen welker at the white house. good morning to you. a lot happening in d.c. a lot happening on capitol hill i assume, a lot happening at the white house as well. >> it sure is, good morning, it j. all eyes on the senate right now. minority leader mitch mcconnell and majority leader harry reid try to cobble together a last minute deal to avoid the fiscal cliff. this on the heels of the meeting that happened at the white house. and top congressional leaders met for about an hour. source who's have knowledge say the president laid out two options for lawmakers, one, either come up with a plan that can pass through both chambers to avoid that deadline or allow his pro poisal to go up for a vote in both chambers. under his plan, bush-era tax cuts would be extended for those making $240,000 or less and rates for top income earners. something that a lot of republicans do like and it would call for extending unemployment insurance benefits and a number of other measures. that's where things stand right now. but as you point out, t.j., only three days left, and the pressure
white house correspondent kristen welker there for us. what was the point here? the president decided to come out and that bully pulpit can be a powerful weapon. >> reporter: certainly can be. good afternoon to you, t.j. the president using the bully pulpit. this is a part of the pressure on congress but also democrats who might be skeptical of this compromise that is coming to fruition so he came out today with middle class americans standing behind him and made the argument if we do, in fact, go over the cliff, if the steep tax hikes and spending cuts kick in to effect tomorrow, that the average american would see their taxes increase by about $2,000. this is an argument that he has been making for quite sometime now and appeared on "meet the press" this week with a similar argument and the event a part of that larger message and the president started to map out the contours of the deal coming together and i can tell you that this is what we can report, t.j. they have worked out the tax issues. so at this point in time, taxes will raise on folks making $400,000, individuals making $
doors at the white house. i want to bring in white house correspondent kristen welker. >> reporter: i'm told pelosi and boehner left to come to the white house. in terms of the smaller deal, we have heard it would include a provision to extend the bush 'ra tax cuts for those making $250,000 or less and let them expire for those more than $250,000 and something that president obama has been calling for for a long time. it would also extend unemployment insurance benefits and stave off some of those deep spending cut that is are set to go in to effect and essentially mirrors what president obama outlined when he addressed the nation before leaving for the what ryan holiday. white house officials being very tight lipped of what specifically the president is going to do and will not confirm to put this smaller deal on the table so i think we're going to have to wait until the meeting wraps up for the specifics but speaking to republican aides with the house who say that this still rests with the senate, that republicans in the house are waiting to see what the senate will do before they w
in washington this week. joining me with one of the luckiest assignments on earth, kristen welker. the beach has been filling up since the last time we got to speak. >> reporter: it has, thomas. a lot of people heading to the beach right now. not a bad assignment. you are absolutely right now. s a for the fiscal cliff talks, i'm told that there have been some fresh talks at the staff level but the hard work is not going to get done until lawmakers return to washington, that's expected to happen after the christmas holiday and at this point there's not a lot of time left and hopes for a grand bargain, president obama and house speaker boehner had been working on have all but evaporated right now. making sure that the steep tax hikes don't go in to effect. president obama on friday saying he would accept a deal as long as it does not allow taxes to go up on middle class americans, as long as it extends unemployment insurance and lays the groundwork for deficit reduction in the future. so there's sort of scaling back their expectations. house speaker boehner tried to get an alternative bill passed
. we begin with kristen welker. >> the house is back in session and they could announce a deal as early as this afternoon. many saying this entire episode represents a lack of leadership on both sides of pennsylvania. with less than 48 hours until the tax hikes and spending cuts take effect, florida small business owner, gary simmons, is watching what happens in washington closely. >> it could directly impact our business if people do not have the extra dollars to come shopping. that hurts business. >> reporter: it is a frustration that is being felt coast to coast and christmas shoppers in california sound off. >> potentially, it will affect the middle class, which i am the most, right now. that's disappointing to me. >> reporter: with public pressure mounting, key staffers worked behind closed doors trying to hammer out a last-minute deal. in his weekly radio address, the president said, if lawmakers can't find a compromise, they should put his plan up for a vote. >> i will urge the senate to hold an up or down vote on i abasic package that protects the middle class and extends unempl
house correspondent kristen welker. kristen, obviously they always say the white house travels with the president wherever he is. that's where the white house is. the president, though, is enjoying vacation, but still continuing to keep tabs on the fiscal cliff negotiations, correct? >> he is. white house officials describe this as a working vacation. i think there have been maybe a few conversations at the staff level about the fiscal cliff, but the reality is, thomas, the negotiations have largely stalled. you remember president obama on friday urging lawmakers to take this time off to really cool off, come back later this week with a appreciate perspective. i think you're going to see the hard work, the real negotiations resume when lawmakers go back into session after the christmas holiday. now, last week it seemed as though president obama, house speaker john boehner were close to getting some sort of a grand bargain that would have addressed tax reform as well as deficit reduction. those talks, of course, fell apart. house speaker john boehner tried to get an alternative
power panel from the white house. we have nbc news correspondent kristen welker, cnbc contributor and democratic strategist keith boykin and republican strategist allison stewart. kristen, kelly o'donnell was saying earlier today that many on the hill see bynum's entrance into the negotiations as a good sign, that something could happen here. why is biden in a unique position here? >> happy new year's eve to you as well. vice president biden served as a u.s. senator for more than 30 years. few people really understand the way these types of negotiations work like he does. in addition to that, equally importantly, 23 of those years were spent serving alongside minority leader mitch mcconnell. so they have a good working relationship, good personal relationship. you remember that yesterday mcconnell said he needs a dance partner in these negotiations. he didn't feel as though they were moving forward. so he reached out to vice president biden. biden engaged. and what looked like a stalemate yesterday really has begun to move forward overnight, the two on the phone late into the even
of marijuana. joining me from the white house, nbc news white house correspondent, kristen welker. sticky issue for the president. to what degree is the administration prepared to enforce federal law without alienating a significant number of people that just supported i his re-election? >> reporter: good morning. a number of people that supported president obama, liberal democrats, may support the initiatives to legalize marijuana in colorado as well as washington. here's what's happening right now. the justice department is essentially reviewing these initiatives. they're reviewing it against the controlled substance act. this basically says that by federal law it is illegal to possess or sell marijuana, so that's what's going on behind the scenes, these conversations in early stages right now. i don't believe there's any action that's necessarily imminent. of course, we have to wait and see on that point. you're absolutely right. politically this could be challenging for president obama, but at this point in time they're really looking at all the options and basically making the case remindi
candidates they could face in 2016. >> no kidding. kristen welker, thank you. >> thanks. >>> and we'll be right back. [ male announcer ] playing in the nfl is tough. ♪ doing it with a cold, just not going to happen. vicks dayquil -- powerful non-drowsy 6-symptom cold & flu relief. ♪ no matter what city you're playing tomorrow. [ coughs ] [ male announcer ] you can't let a cold keep you up tonight. ♪ vicks nyquil -- powerful nighttime 6-symptom cold & flu relief. ♪ ♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] everyone deserves the gift of all day pain relief. this season, discover aleve. all day pain relief with just two pills. but proven technologies allow natural gas producers to supply affordable, cleaner energy, while protecting our environment. across america, these technologies protect air - by monitoring air quality and reducing emissions... ...protect water - through conservation and self-contained recycling systems... ... and protect land - by reducing our footprint and respecting wildlife. america's natural gas... domestic, abundant, clean energy to power our lives... that's smarter
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